Smart Playlist: We Will Program Everything

I just used iTunes smart playlists for the first time and it has vastly improved my iPhone music experience. Not coincidentally, I have also been learning how to program.

My music flow is to download a bunch of new music and go through my recently added playlist a bunch of times. Eventually I find songs that I like. Sometimes I put them into playlist that sync with my iPhone. Sometimes they do not, but I have way too much music to sync my whole library.

My “Recently Added” playlist syncs with my phone. I find that I rely on it quite a bit. One of the most annoying things is when one of my new favorite songs becomes no longer “Recently Added”.

I just started using smart playlists. I setup rules to define my own “Trending” songs. There are a few steps, but if a song has been in my library for a certain amount of time and has accumulated enough plays, it makes the list. The longer something has been in my library the more plays it will need to stay in “Trending”. Now, if I like a song, it will stay on my iPhone even if I do not sort it into a playlist.

For some reason, it took me a while to set this up. The more comfortable I get with programming, the more I see ways for programming and technology to solve my problems. I know many people who do not use smart playlists who would clearly benefit from it. Why?

Fundamentally, technology only works when it understands human psychology. For now, most non-programmers would be prohibitively uncomfortable writing basic algorithms. The confusion costs and steep learning curve make people ambivalent to try programming. That is not going to change with a new app. It will change when the human attitude changes.

In the future, as more jobs depend on technology and as more wealth accumulates in the tech sector, people will gravitate towards technology. It is hard to accurately predict when, but at some point, learning to program will be much more common and programming literacy will be widespread.

I wonder what technology will look like when people feel comfortable programming the last mile of applications and when everything can becomes custom. I might well not be alive. Human psychology is much harder to rewrite than machine’s. However, it will happen.

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